Pace's Dinkins finds niche on the outside

Pace Academy's Kaitlyn Dinkins, who threatened the state's record for 3-pointers in a game, is obsessed with her shot.

But it's a good thing and is what has transformed Dinkins into one of the state's top scorers from outside.

"I'm always trying to work on my shot, tweaking it and trying to make it better," Dinkins said. "I guess you could say I'm obsessed with it, which can be good and bad."

Dinkins, who has had a hot hand for most of the season, struggled Tuesday in a 61-47 loss to Southwest Atlanta Christian. She scored 8 points, including a pair of 3-pointers in the second half.

Southwest (8-5) overwhelmed Pace (7-6) with its speed and defensive intensity. Southwest's Victoria Carter had 18 points, while teammate Shavonte Naylor scored 12.

Every shooter has tough days, but Dinkins hasn't had many this season. She averages 17 points for Pace, which is led by Morgan Batey (20 ppg), who scored 23 on Tuesday.

The 5-foot-8 Dinkins turned heads when she sank nine 3-pointers in an overtime loss to Cedar Shoals over the holidays. The state record is 11, according to She has 52 this season.

Dinkins was on such a hot streak in that particular game that she missed only two shots from beyond the 3-point line, including a desperation heave from the middle of court at the halftime buzzer. The junior guard also has turned in games of five and six 3-pointers this season.

"We were all so involved [against Cedar Shoals] because it was a tight game, that we really didn't know that she was so close to the record," Pace coach Regina Tate.

"If we had known, we might have drawn up some more plays for her. It was very impressive and proved that all the hard work was paying off."

The shooting spree did wonders for the confidence of Dinkins, who is known to be too hard on herself after missing shots. In the past, Dinkins might have shied away from shooting after missing a couple, but not as much now.

"I was shocked and excited about that game," Dinkins said. "Sometimes you don't know if all the practice on your shot is helping. But everything just came together that night."

Dinkins is a self-described "gym rat" who might take as many as 1,000 to 1,500 jump shots during the season and double as many in the off-season. She has a personal shooting coach and even gets her father to help out.

"Sometimes after the dinner, I'll say ‘Hey Dad, let's go shoot at the gym,' " Dinkins said. "Sometimes we'll be there until 10 o'clock at night. I've always loved the game of basketball. I never really get tired of it."

Dinkins is just as accomplished in the classroom, where she ranks among the top five students in Pace's junior class and hasn't made a "B" since middle school.